Firearm History

M1 Carbine: How to Pick a Shooter

Army advisor in Viet Nam carrying an M1 Carbine

If you are a regular reader here, you will no doubt recall that in a previous article I explained why I believe the M1 Carbine to be the best Urban Defensive Weapon one could have. In that article, I promised to explain how to obtain one of the 80-plus-year-old firearms. I will do so here.

A Bit of History of the M1 Carbine

In a still earlier article posted here about the M1 Carbine, I gave information on the history, development, and manufacture of the carbine, and I recommend you review that article for the details. That said, you might recall, that besides a few “bring-back” souvenirs brought home by WWII GIs, no complete carbines were originally released from government surplus. Initially, only parts and components were made available. Demand, however, was so great for the carbine that entrepreneurs gobbled up those parts and married them to cast or rewelded demilled receivers to assemble complete firearms.

G.I. Arsenal rebuild of a Inland M1 Carbine
Here we see a very nice Inland M1 Carbine that was purchased in the early 1970s and was typical for a G.I. Arsenal rebuild that was released around that time. The obvious proof of the mismatched parts used is that the stock on this M1 was made for an M2 which you can tell by the belly in the bottom forward of the trigger guard.

Some of those more available frankenguns were those by Plainfield and Universal. I had one of each and my advice is to steer clear. With the release of wartime surplus firearms, things began to change dramatically. Carbines started showing up in 1963 through the DCM and the NRA, which made acquiring one easy and at an affordable $24. Many more Carbines went to allies and enemies alike around the world.

After the war, and some 60 years ago, most of the GI Carbines were arsenal reconditioned, before they were released to the public or sent to other countries. Arsenal reconditioned does not mean made to look brand new. What it means is that all carbines that went through the process were brought up to the current standard with the latest parts — anything worn or broken was replaced or repaired. If it was a worn but serviceable part, such as the stock, it was left alone. I am not going to get into “as issued” collectible carbines here, this is about choosing a reliable, accurate shooter.

As the stores of domestically-released carbines started to dry up, those that went to other countries were reimported into the U.S. and offered for sale through the DCM, and later, the CMP. Some imported carbines had been serviced and rebuilt by the country that used them. Italy is a good example because Beretta rebuilt those carbines that were issued to Italy. Even so, many people are put off by another country’s proof and import marks stamped on them.

Those guns can still make good shooters. Currently, even those sources are becoming scarce, and the price of GI-issued carbines has been climbing. Depending on what part of the country you reside in, prices can vary quite a bit. Recently, I have seen prices starting at about $1,000 for one in pretty sad shape and going up to several thousand dollars from there.

Remember, I am talking about GI-issue only. My personal recommendation for collectors would be to stay away from anything commercial, such as Auto-Ordnance, Fulton Armory, Chiappa, Universal, and Plainfield to name a few. Additionally, be aware that the Inland name has been purchased and the company is making commercial carbines under that name, so ensure you are looking at a GI Inland.

maker and date of manufacture shown on the barrel of a M1 Carbine rifle
The maker and date of manufacture are shown on the barrel.

What should you look for in an M1 Carbine?

Back in the day, you could attend a gun show and there would be collectors, who for the most part were pretty honest, and you could be assured a fair deal. Some of those old-timers are still around but not many. So, getting a carbine at a gun show can be problematic, unless you know what you are looking at and paying for.

Ultimately, it is up to you to educate yourself and know what to look for. If someone says to you that the one you are looking at has all matching numbers, he or she knows nothing about carbines. The only numbers on a GI Carbine are the serial number on the rear of the receiver with the maker’s name, and the manufacturer’s name and date on the barrel.

Sometimes numbers are encountered on the operating slide, but those are usually drawing blueprint numbers assigned to the part and were not assigned to the specific firearm. The only other mark is on the front receiver ring stating, U.S. Carbine Cal .30 M1 in two lines. Other anomalies may be encountered, but there is not enough space here to cover those with clarity.

Markings showing that this is an early Winchester slide for a M1 Carbine
The marks on the bottom of this slide indicate that it is an early Winchester slide. There are other numbers that would indicate the slide was made for an M2.

That said, all the parts are marked with an assigned maker’s mark. Carbines with all the correctly marked parts are worth more to collectors but are of no additional value to a shooter. Why pay the premium for that? Aside from matching manufacturing marks, the condition of the stock (if in good shape) will increase the price. If the appearance of the stock is important to you, refinish it or buy a replacement, remember you want a reliable shooter, not a safe queen.

One of the more important things you should be concerned with when choosing a carbine as a shooter is the muzzle crown. Inspect it and ensure it is not dinged or ruined by incorrect cleaning techniques. The muzzle crown has a tremendous effect on the gun’s accuracy, so make sure it is in good condition.

Another important safety issue is proper headspace, which must be checked. As you have probably concluded by now, knowing all there is to know about selecting a carbine requires quite a bit of study. If you are interested, there are some very good books available explaining more than you would ever want to know. There is, however, a foolproof shortcut. and it will not cost any more than a decent example found at a gun show or other source.

Marking to show the M1 Carbine was a post war build
The marks on the bottom of this safety lever indicate it was part of a post-war rebuild.

Alternative Option

Many years ago, before California went totally crazy, it used to have some world-class gun shows. One of the biggest was the Great Western Gun Show held at the Pomona Fairgrounds with thousands of exhibitors. It was at that show some 40 years ago that I encountered a gentleman who owned a company located in the bay area of California.

That company was Miltech, and it specialized in reconditioning Garands, Johnsons, Springfields, Enfields, Mauser 98Ks, and M1 Carbines. When I saw its booth, I was impressed by what I saw. Miltech even displayed some rifles in wooden crates, simulating what GIs might have seen when they ripped into their crates. This is part of the statement from its website regarding the M1 Carbine:

The MILTECH M1 Carbine restoration includes new springs and properly calibrated front and rear sights. In the restoration process, every attempt is made to match the major components of each M1 Carbine. For example, Inland receivers will have Inland internal components, Winchester receivers will have Winchester internal components, etc.

They will also, upon request, install an Ultimak rail, optical sight, and light of your choice — if you so specify. The owner is Ed Silva, and he is a real gentleman and great to chat with if you decide to go that way. I highly recommend that you do. Additionally, if you have a carbine and are not sure if it is safe due to headspace or want it checked out, call Ed for advice or to schedule a safety check, repair, or rebuild. The only fly in the ointment is that delivery times may be much longer than expected, but I believe the quality of work is worth the wait www.miltecharms.com.

Final Thoughts

As I mentioned at the beginning, I believe the .30 CAL M1 Carbine is the best urban defensive tool one can choose. I recommend it to all my students and even have a class dedicated to its use. If you are offered the opportunity to shoot one, don’t pass it up. It is addictive and a joy to shoot. I believe so strongly in M1 Carbine that I rely on one as my personal home defense choice.

If past performance is an indication of the future potential, a lot of you are M1 Carbine fans. Do you own an M1 Carbine? Are you a collector? Share your M1 Carbine story in the comment section.

  • entire trigger housing and all the receiver parts detail stripped for the M1 Carbine
  • Inland M1 barrel with mark and date
  • M1 Carbine lug showing the Underwood marking
  • Saginaw contractor's name and serial number marking on the recoil plate
  • Forward receiver bridge with .30 Caliber marking for the M1 Carbine
  • M1 Carbine hammer with IBM markings
  • M1 Carbine operating slide with Underwood markings
  • Marking to show the M1 Carbine was a post war build
  • M1 Carbine trigger with Underwood marking
  • Markings showing that this is an early Winchester slide for a M1 Carbine
  • maker and date of manufacture shown on the barrel of a M1 Carbine rifle
  • Man wearing an Army t-shirt holding an M1 Carbine
  • G.I. Arsenal rebuild of a Inland M1 Carbine
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (61)

  1. For those of us who would like an M1 Carbine to shoot but don’t need it to be a collectible GI issue gun, it would be helpful to have a review of the available “commercial” guns such as those made by Auto-Ordnance, Fulton Armory, etc. I’ve read good things about Fulton’s products.

  2. I love this article. I have a Standard Products with an Underwood barrel stamped ” Bavarian Game Warden”. Great shooter, I love this little rifle.

  3. I picked up my M1 back in the 80’s. It is a 1945 GI issued Inland that was imported back from S Korea. I was able to pick thru a lot, found the one I liked and paid $200 for it. Should have bought more!
    I shot the heck out of it for many years putting hundreds of rounds thru it, until I started to get a lot of failures to fire and eject and felt it wasn’t safe to shoot. So it sat in the safe for a while as I looked for a gunsmith who knew M1’s.
    That’s when I was introduced to Ed Silva at Miltech. He checked out my M1 and showed me how far out of spec the barrel crown and head soccer were. He said it was unsafe to shoot and needed a new barrel. At the time, a new barrel was, $500 and a total referb was about $800. I went for the referb. I told Ed that I wanted it to be safe and to hum. I got so much more. The thing is so sweet to shoot and have had no problems with it. The work is impeccable and it’s just beautiful wish I could attach a photo. Just don’t be rushed for delivery.

  4. Great information but thankfully I got mine during the Surplus year’s
    Late 1970’s
    where you could pick them up for a dime a dozen and got to look through a dozen rifles and pay $150 for the best one of the lot
    But definitely great information and thank you for sharing

  5. when I wrote to you, I said I believe the barrel i an inland. I checked it and it is an Underwood with the date 1943 and the typ.flaming bomb stamp under it

  6. Here’s some advice that may help keep your carbine running reliably. Most M1 carbines are quite old and may have weakened springs. You can order replacement springs from Wolff Gunsprings. If your carbine has feeding problems, this could be caused by damaged or non-milspec magazines. They were designed to be disposable, so defective mags are not unusual, even with GI surplus. As a general precaution I usually avoid 30 round mags and stick with 15 rounders. I have one aftermarket 20-rounder which is so out-of-spec that it will not even fit in the magazine well of any carbine I own! There are two other often overlooked issues which can cause malfunctions – a stuck gas piston or a loose gas piston (castle) nut. Both are located in the gas piston block underneath the barrel. You will need a carbine piston nut wrench and possibly a new gas piston and/or castle nut (I recommend the Type II gas piston nut because it allows more gas to flow through, increasing reliability). All of these items are available online, as are instructions in how to perform this work. If the gas piston does not move freely back and forth, you will need to remove it for cleaning or replacement. If the piston does move freely, but the castle nut which retains it in place is loose, it will need to be properly secured. Simply tightening it with a carbine piston nut wrench will not work. Over-tightening it will cause the gas block to crack, necessitating a new barrel. The proper fix is to stake the nut in place, but this requires some skill to do properly. A simpler fix which may work is to use a high temperature sealant or apply one layer of Teflon tape to the nut before threading it into place. Before reassembly, be sure to clean the gas hole in the barrel (a #50 drill bit should work, but do this by hand). I suggest you remove any carbon from the gas block threads by chasing them with an M1 ordnance tool or a .500″-32 NS-3 tap.

  7. I submitted a post yesterday that has disappeared into the ether. I wanted to advise WWII carbine owners that it is very common to see parts from different manufacturers and component suppliers on original M1s. The government often shifted parts around to keep production on schedule at each plant. For example, if Inland had a surplus of barrels and Saginaw needed barrels, off they went to Saginaw. Postwar, most carbines were refurbished at either stateside or overseas depots. Upgrades often included new stocks, flip safeties, adjustable rear sights, bayonet lugs, two-prong magazine catches, and heavier M2 bolts. So don’t be disappointed if numbers, manufacturer marks, and specific items don’t match on your war baby. In fact, if they do match, I’d be suspicious that some unscrupulous individual may have doctored the gun before selling it. Caveat emptor!

  8. MrKen, do you mean the gas piston (castle) nut that retains the gas piston in the block? If so, you will need a new castle nut, a nut wrench, and probably a new gas piston. I recommend the Type II gas piston because it allows extra gas into the block for more reliable cycling. All of these items are affordable and available. When installing the new piston, do not over-tighten the castle nut or you will crack the gas block. One wrap of Teflon tape may keep the nut secure, but proper staking is the recommended procedure (check YouTube). However, it appears you are talking about the gas block itself. I’m afraid the only practical fix is to replace the barrel, which will likely run over $300 plus labor. There is an original Inland barrel up for bid online right now (item# 937076900). The owner states the gas piston is stuck, so you might be able to get it at a reasonable price. I once had a piston get stuck on an old Universal carbine. Neither vice grips nor penetrating oil had any effect. I then read a post by another shooter who had experienced the exact same problem. He got the recalcitrant piston out by removing the stock, tying the rifle down, and firing it remotely. I tried it, and what do you know, it worked, and it did not damage the charging handle or carbine. I did have to remove some carbon buildup in the gas block threads, but once I installed a new piston and proper three pronged retaining nut, the Universal ran like a champ.

  9. “My personal recommendation for collectors would be to stay away from anything commercial, such as Auto-Ordnance, Fulton Armory, Chiappa, Universal, and Plainfield to name a few.”

    I find the above comment irresponsible and IRRELVANT. Your personal recommendation is obviously done out of ignorance or bias. Without any specific, documented evidence, your recommendations are not helpful …KEEP IT TO YOURSELF…

  10. Great informative article. After reading this article on the M1, I ordered an M1 from Miltech as recommended by the author. I can’t wait to getting it.

  11. Find a welding shop. have the guy TIG weld up the crack after compressing it with a clamp.
    I have done a couple myself.

  12. To Fred and James check out Miltech to get a Carbine or have one repaired you will not be disappointed.

  13. I worked at IBM for many years. When I found out that IBM manufactured M1 Carbines for the war effort I went searching for one…aout 30 years ago. IBM only made 356K of the 6.5 million carbines produced…so they are somewhat rare. I found one at a gun show with the correct receiver and barrel. I bought a book to research the sub-contractor codes for every part that went into the original factory builds and realized I had a frankenstein with the exception of the stock…which happened to be correct…manufactured by Milton Bradley Game Company for IBM in 1943. Over the course of many years, I located NOS (new old stock) original correct parts down to every spring, screw and pin…and now the carbine is 100% correct…including the oiler and 2 magazines. It was a fun research project, exhaustive hunt for parts and very satisfying build project. Authentic original parts are becoming very difficult to find and very expensive. Very cool to have this completed.

  14. After reading all the reviews provided here, it appears to me that M1 purchases are best from Fulton Armory. I’m headed there now.
    Thank You Colonel K SIR.

  15. I have an Inland from the CMP last time they had some. It is an Italian return with a FAT stock marking. It has an M2 stock. It needed the bolt rebuilt and a new recoil spring. It is now a reliable shooter.
    Recently it has developed a small crack in the threaded part of the piston housing that is part of the barrel. I don’t know what to do to fix it. I have looked around for a replacement barrel but can’t find one. I hate to let the old barrel go since it appears to original to to the rifle and the bore and muzzle are excellent. Any suggestions?

  16. I bought one marked Inland Mfg. Div., General Motors, 5-44 on the barrel. Inland Div. With a serial number below on the receiver top just back of the rear sight. The stock is refurbished and the metal looks very good. The barrel crown is good and this light carbine us a real shooter.

    I have shot over 200 FMJ through it with no issues. At 50 yards, it is more accurate than my 70 plus years eyes can make it.

    I rotate it as my home defense rifle with an AR. I have alternating PSP and FMJ rounds in the magazine.

    Love this carbine. Love the history of this gun.

  17. I built one from scratch, Ordered many of the parts parts from Numerich gun parts and various sources on line. Receiver was the toughest part to acquire. Found a guy at a gun show that had several. As I had a 1944 new Inland barrel I opted for an Inland receiver which, at the time, cost me $100. Amazing how many military carbine PARTS are available. I put it together and it worked perfectly. Gave it to my son for a Christmas gift as i had already bought one way back in 1963 from DCM for $18 plus postage from Rock Island Arsenal.

  18. Back in 2000, I acquired a Plainfield Machine Company M1, with a manufacture date of 1961. It shoots beautifully, and has never had a malfunction. Aside from collectability I see no need to disparage aftermarket M1s. I recently put an “experienced” stock on it and now it looks as good as it shoots. I do agree it makes a great home defense weapon. Light handling and punchy enough to get the job done!

  19. mine is stamped USMC
    Corp I believe it’s hard to read Corp part
    And it has a bayonet lug so I also believe that’s after 1942 and it was one of those $150 Turner specials

  20. I bought mine as a NRA member through the DCM in 1965. $19.50 plus I think about five dollars for shipping. The one I received was a Winchester. This is a great little gun, easy to handle and wield and tons of fun to shoot. And plenty accurate out to about 100 yards. Also, a perfect choice for home defense. I used to handload for mine. You could find once fired brass advertised in the Sunday paper for about $20 per thousand.

    In the beginning I had an occasional failure to fire problem. This cartridge head spaces on the case mouth and with a little investigation I found that some of the Once fired brass that I had purchased included some cases that were a few Thousandths of an inch long. These prevented the bolt from fully rotating into battery which in turn caused the failure to fire. The problem was solved by trimming all the cases to an Acceptable maximum length before reloading them.

    This was my favorite firearm in the 1960s and it remains so today more than 50 years later.

  21. Fact: civilian carbine sales led to a change in the National Firearms Act in, I think, the early 1960s. The original NFA regulated shotguns and rifles with barrels under 18″. Then, only after the government had sold quite a few M-1 carbines, did someone realize that the carbine’s barrel is 16.5″. A whole load of NFA firearms, sold without NFA compliance, by the government itself! They had to amend the NFA to provide that it regulated shotguns with barrels under 18″ and rifles with barrels under 16.”

  22. In 1960 i was in the seabees working in guam — one day i was passing by the marine armory, being the nosey guy i am, i asked the marine working there how everything was going, he said do you know anybody that wants to buy a m1 carbine, how much- 20 bucks with and extra barrel and cleaning kit — that was a lot of money then so i said all take it{ i was only making 120 a month} then thought how the hell am i going to get this thing back to the states —so i went to the company commander and asked him how i would get this carbine back to the states— he said make a wood box and mark firearms on the box -put it in the mail – he never ask how i got the rifle i am still can’t figure out how i got by with that——– still shooting a carbine at 80

  23. My father bought 2 of these for $20each when he retired from the USNavy in 1962. They both have the made by general motors stamp. One he gave to his brother and I have no chance of getting it back. The other is at my brothers house locked in his gun safe. We have each killed countless deer with this little light weight riffle. I shot my first deer with this riffle holding it like a pistol because the deer was under the deer stand I was sitting in. Not very powerful, put good for about 100y using just the iron sights. I sure wish I could get my hands on the other one. We have never had it valued, don’t need to, it is staying in the family!

  24. I own a US Postal meter version. Barrel date is 1943 which matches the mfg date of the Serial # It is in excellent cond. and shoots very well. I have no history on the rifle but a gun smith/gun store owner told me he didn’t think my rifle had ever been taken apart. I believe that the sling on it is the original. Thanks for the article.

  25. I carried one as a Security Policeman in the Air Force back in 67, really liked the M1, Fun to shoot, and very dependable.

  26. I had an original inland that my father purchased from jersey city armory on Montgomery st. I had the original receipt for 23 and change. When he passed i came into possession of it and soon found the communists made it illegal in the early 70s because a few of the black panthers would cut off the stock and hide them.under trench coats. So instead of punishing criminals nj made the carbine illegal. Nj GUNOWNERS accepted it because they accept ALL infringements. I never got to shoot it but it was im immaculate condition. Its whereabouts now r either in pa or hidden in someones attic in nj.

  27. I love the M1 carbine ,I myself own 3 ,1of which is a original M1A1 that I purchased from a vet of D-Day on to the end of the war with the 101st he told me that it wasn’t hard to get it home because of the folding stock it fit in a duffle bag nicely. My other two are both IBM that do not have the bayonet lugs and from my research they never saw a rebuild and they are all way more then good out to 200 yrds

  28. My grandfather bought a carbine for me from the DCM in 1963. He had to wait a while for delivery because of the Kennedy assassination. I was 16 and still have it. Receiver is Winchester, high wood stock. I can’t read the manufacturing date because I had a clamp on muzzle brake on the barrel for years which wore the date off. Doesn’t matter. I will will leave it to my son and where it ends up I won’t be privy to. It’s been a fun rifle to own and shoot.

  29. I was a Marine Cpl. in Vietnam in 1968 and had two M2 carbines that had been taken from NVA troops. One was normal, but the other was a beautiful custom weapon that must have belonged to a flag officer. The carbine was polished and blued, the stock was sanded and varnished, and it had a chrome machined bolt. When I first obtained them, it was legal to bring captured weapons home, however while in-country, the rules changed to exclude U.S. manufactured weapons. My plans to remove the selectors and attempt to bring them home vanished!

  30. I too have a couple of Carbines. The first I purchased from a collector as it was manufactured by IBM (spent my 36 year career at IBM). It has been most likely reconditioned in the past, but is in good condition. The other Carbine is also an IBM but I had Fulton Armory rebuild it into a “shooter” about 20 years ago. I use it as a home defense weapon, along with my Ruger Mini-14. I’ve found the Fulton Armory work to be reliable as I also had them turn an old M1 Garand, that I purchased from CMP, into a reliable shooter as well. You mention that Fulton is not recommended? Any feedback?

  31. Great article I have an inland that is a great shooter. I inherited it from my brother when he passed away. We had a lot of fun with it over the years. When I go it will be given to his oldest.

  32. In Vietnam in 1965 a Navy Officer gave me an M-2 carbine with 3 30 round magazines of tracer ammunitionI made a homemade ammo pouch for 2 magazines and carried one in theb gun I fired one round into a flak vest and the bullet spun around on the floor sone time later I fired a lomng burst in full auto an a large boulder about 200-300 yards from my position up ay Hi Van Pass north of Danang I rotated out in Now 1965 and the Navy Officer asked about the M-2 Carbine and I told him I gave it to my relief. He did not seem happy that an Item of Govt. Property was in Danang’ He never told me he was signed out for the weapon. I never owned an M-1 carbinebut I do own anM-1 Garandmade by Springfield Armory inNovember 1941

  33. I’d probably place an order, but every ammo dealer I encounter is scared shitless of shipping 5.56 rounds to a New York address.

  34. Back in the day, about any gun dealer would get them in on occasions around where i lived but those days are gone i suppose. they were dirt cheap back in the 70’s compared to now.

  35. I’ve been interested in acquiring a M1 carbine ever since my uncle used one in WWII IN THE PACIFIC theater. Where would you look for one? I’ve got on old Universal model with a loose rear sight! Please advise! Thank you.

  36. My Father sold his M1 carbine to someone I didn’t know at the time but some 40 years later I met the man and was able to buy it back from him! It’s a National postal meter the barrel is stamped 1943 it gun is in great shape and a real fine shooter I love it, even my Dads 11 year old Great Grandson shoots it !

  37. I was shooting WWII issue ammo in one of these carbines, and the bolt cracked. Found a new bolt at a gun show and it works fine, but curious if others had similar experiences.
    Also, the WWII rounds contained very dense bullets. At 45 degress hitting 1/2″ plate, they made divots, and despite 1000s of other rounds, those were the only divots in that plate.

  38. Just wanted to let you know that I have a 1945 M1 which is essentially a “frankengun” with parts from Inland and Winchester. I replaced the stock which has no armorer or manufacturers markings. I had a certified gunsmith go over everything very carefully when he replaced the stock. It shoots just fine and my kids love it because there is little recoil and it is very lightweight even with the 30 round magazines.

    I also purchased an Auto Ordinance M1 when the Moon family owned the company. I had read an article about the need to “work the gun” while unloaded to break it in which I did. This required me to rack the slide well over 300 times to break it in and get rid of the uneven portions of the parts before putting 1 round through it. It was thoroughly broken down and cleaned after completing this task and knock wood I haven’t had any issues with the gun since then except an occasional stove pipe which is either ammunition related and or needs to be cleaned after a long day of shooting with my 3 kids.

    As you note, my family and I love these 2 guns and I suspect there will be a fight over who gets them when my time here is over! Thank you for your informative articles!!

  39. Early Universal (Bullseye) carbines (gen 1) were made with surplus milspec GI parts and newly forged receivers. As these parts dried up, a secondary market arose to fill demand (gen 2), but quality could be suspect and they were not always milspec. Universal eventually developed their own parts in-house (gen 3), to include a redesigned cast trigger housing and redesigned gas block with matching slide being the most obvious changes. As a result, finding an “authentic” GI configured early Universal carbine in good condition is problematic. Most other postwar companies (Plainfield, National Ordnance/Alpine, Auto-Ordnance (Kahr), Inland Manufacturing, etc.) either began by using GI parts or aftermarket parts that mimicked GI parts. As far as I’ve been able to determine, they all used investment cast receivers. The durability and reliability of these carbines varies, so caveat emptor. By contrast, Fulton Armory has a reputation for manufacturing what might be considered a truly authentic M1 carbine in the sense that it remains faithful to the original WWII version in both design and quality, to include a forged receiver. It’s priced like a collectible, but if you are looking for a shooter, this may be the carbine for you.

  40. I have a m1 from 1943…it is a Quality hardware machine receiver and a Rockola barrel….it still has the push button Saftey and no Bayonet lug and a miss match of parts on the inside.

  41. i purchased an M1 Carbine years ago, it’s manufacturing name on the barrel is IBM.I probably paid no more than $125.00 for it back in the 70’s. it blew my mind that a shabby one now is worth $1000.00 can anyone give me any further information about this rifle’s value as opposed to other manufactured M1’s. i don’t know if some are more rare than others. i was having problems with it chambering and my Uncle who was in the Military during WWII showed me a trick that allowed the cartridge to chamber smoothly, it was as simple as having a quick release of the charging handle. i knew right then he had experienced that before, during his service training no doubt. i suspect it has something to do with the internal spring becoming weakened. i was shooting it one day and something fell from the slide and dissapeared into the cracks in the back porch floor and it was lost for good rendering the rifle unable to function. i have yet to see about getting it repaird. don’t know what the part was that fell from the slide but im sure a good gunsmith who is knowlegable would know.

  42. I’ve owned several M1 Carbines over the years, some really great and some not so much. Great article and very informative. I do however have to take exception with the recommendation against aftermarket Carbines. I currently own an Auto Ordnance M1 that I’m quite happy with. I did have the rear sight replaced and installed a barrel band with the bayonet lug; personal preference as I think it just looks better.

  43. Quite a few decades ago I was able to select/pickup six of them that were reimported from the Israeli police.
    They were in great shape, all came out of the SA rebuild program of the 60s.
    All have the M2 bolts in them. and some late (post war) made parts.
    I have one of each from six different makers.
    I love the little carbine, I keep one (Inland) next to my bed for defense if needed.
    The best part was that I paid $150.00 each for them!
    I must tell you, I was a dealer at that time, after I got in the first few, I called a bunch of people
    and told them of the great condition they were in.
    I ordered 50 more and picked the best of the lot for myself, repeated it again.
    I wish that I had kept more of them for my collection, looking back at it now.
    I use only the 15 round USGI mags in them, I have USGI 30’s but keep away from using them.
    There are Korean import mags, new from KCI, they work but are not exact copies, but with the Underwood code.
    There were a lot imported from Korea, many have Korean wood on them, I would stay away from those, most are worn out and have muzzle wear that you can stick a round in them and they go down to the case mouth as a stop, worn out with a steel cleaning rod.
    Many have been refinished with zinc phosphate, looks light gray, not the right finish, look for pits hidden in the coarse finish.
    A simple test, pull the operating slide halfway back and pull it out and upward from the receiver.
    If it comes out of the track put it back.
    I only use ball ammo for defense, use of some soft nose, it will catch on the lead, F to F.
    I have ARs that I could use but prefer the M1 carbine for inside use.
    Oh, I have a USGI flash hider on the bedroom one, also has two spare mags in the stock mounted pouch .

  44. There was never a confirmed kill further than 50 yards.
    It had the reputation that multiple hits were necessary to stop a person.
    During the Korean war, it performed so poorly against the NK winter jackets, soldiers were told to aim for the head.

    Modern bullets should perform much better.
    Gold Dot Soft points were made, but can’t find any, probably discontinued.
    Hornady critical defense made some with FTX bullets, but can’t find any.

    I think an AR is better in every way, and get 300 black out if you prefer 30 over a 22.

  45. I received a M1Carbine from the CMP BACK IN THE 1990s. It was in a heavy paper storage pack. Date was October 10 1953. It was torn opened at the rear sight to get the serial number. To my surprise the weapon appeared to be unused, never fired. Also to my surprise it was Winchester. Upon inspecting all internal parts and matching numbers and markings on internal parts by using The M1 Carbine by Joe Poyer appears it is all Winchester except the slide and sear. There are no rebuild markings on rifle anywhere that I can find. Could this actually be a true Winchester. The date on barrel I think is 1945.

  46. I have an Inland w/bayonet and several 15 round mags. It’s very cool.
    My dad was a Detroit police officer and during the riots in 1967 they could join the NRA for $6
    And then purchase the carbine for an additional $12. I told him, you should have bought two. Hah, he’s still kicking at 94.
    Great info on the gun,thank you.

  47. I just read this article and the previous one referenced with great interest. My father, George Steck, was an expediter at Inkand during WWII. He was rejected for military duty due to back problems. He traveled the country visiting parts manufacturers getting the needed parts to Inland and troubleshooting manufacturing problems. Once he commandeered a passenger train when no freight trains were available and loaded parts in the aisles to get them to Inland in time. When the contracts were completed at the end of the war, the leftover parts were assembled into souvenir rifles for those who had been essential in getting the job done. Dad had one of those, and he had the walnut stock custom carved with an eagle, if I recall correctly. Unfortunately, the receiver in his rifle was from an M2, making it officially fully automatic, although it lacked critical parts to make it function as such, and therefore illegal to possess or use. He kept it for many years, discharging it on one occasion at a range, but keeping it loaded and ready just in case. After his death, my elder brother made inquiries and it was donated to the Carrillon Park Museum in Dayton, Ohio for their exhibition of local manufacturing history. You article matches my Dad’s dories well, which is a little surprising because he had a tendency to embellish his stories a wee bit. Thanks for the memories.

  48. bought one 10 or 12 years ago. Store had a Winchester and a inland. Bought the inland because it was less exspensive, but I wish I had bought both. Lower serial# could have possibly served in North Africa when I researched as best as I could. Very happy with my purchase.

  49. I have an old one will look to see who made what, but the question is can you buy ammo? I want shoot it because of the limited ammo i have, there is none in the stores and hasn’t been much for years? Where can i buy ammo would love to shoot this rifle again.? thank you Ed

  50. Yes I do own one and wish I had more time to shoot it. Great article. Thanks for sharing. jwstx

  51. This was exciting to read because it contained data and details I did not know.
    This writer certainly has a firm grasp on the M1 Carbine. His recommendations are well founded and extremely helpful.

  52. Ed LaPorta really is The Most Interesting Man In The World
    I have learned a lot from Ed over the years and look forward to more of his articles
    Thanks for putting these out!

  53. Nice article! I live the quote: remember you want a reliable shooter, not a safe queen.

    Ed Silva from Miltech built my M1 carbine from brand new parts, installed and sighted in red dot. It took several months, but worth the wait. Great rifle for home defense, lightweight, easy to handle.
    Thank you, Ed Laporta, for recommending me to build it from Miltech arms

  54. Damn good article. I made the mistake of purchasing a sub-par carbine years ago, but I am now looking into Miltech, to do this fine firearm justice. Thanks again to the author.

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